Colorado State announced Friday that the school had parted ways with athletic director Jack Graham.
Colorado State president Tony Frank said in a statement that "substantial differences" existed in the views of Graham and himself.
“I have elected to terminate Jack Graham’s employment as athletic director,” Frank said. “While I am grateful to Jack for the energy he’s brought to CSU in establishing a culture that expects excellence within Ram Athletics and his actions in hiring great coaches and staff, there have come to exist some substantial differences in our views. Based on our differences, I have chosen to exercise the termination for convenience clause within Jack’s contract to allow the university and the athletic department to move forward, building on the successes that Jack brought to our program. As a personnel issue, this will be the University’s only comment on this personnel action.
“Our athletic department has made great strides in the last few years, and I wholeheartedly expect that progress to continue. This in no way diminishes our institutional commitment to excellence in athletics. We’re excited about the future of our program and looking forward to a great year.”
Graham wanted to build an on-campus football stadium at Colorado State. He was hired in December 2011 and according to the Coloradoan, the deadline to raise half of the athletic department's $220 million part of the stadium before it could proceed was coming up in October. The Colorado State Daily Collegian reported that the school had only raised $24.2 million as of June 30.
However, in an email to boosters obtained by the Daily Collegian, Frank said the decision was not related to the stadium project.
In addition, this decision is in no way connected to the on-campus stadium project. Our commitment to our student-athletes and to excellence across the university drives our decisions about Rams athletics and always has. The stadium project is separate from this personnel action and will continue to move forward as planned, with me providing a recommendation to the Board of Governors in October. We appreciate all of the support CSU has received for this initiative through your donations and commitment.
In a release of his own, Graham called his firing surprising and disappointing.
"Today, Colorado State University informed me of its decision to terminate my contract as Director of Athletics. This announcement is surprising and deeply disappointing to me. I will personally miss the opportunity to continue to build on what we have accomplished during the past two and a half years. I sincerely hope that the University's decision today will not derail the significant strides and positive developments that have been made in CSU Athletics and our fundraising efforts for the new stadium."
The stadium project was approved in the fall of 2012. Colorado State currently plays at Hughes Stadium, which is two miles west of campus.
Deputy athletic director John Morris will serve as interim athletic director.
Graham hired current Colorado State football coach Jim McElwain, who was Alabama's offensive coordinator before taking the CSU job.
McElwain said he supported Frank.
"The reason I came here is because of the great leadership. Tony is a guy that we support 100%." - McElwain said after practice #CSURams— CSU Rams Football (@CSUFootball) August 9, 2014
"Tony has great leadership, & I look forward to being a coach here & moving this program to something Ram fans can be proud of..." -McElwain— CSU Rams Football (@CSUFootball) August 9, 2014
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